(Project of the Kajima Institute of International Peace)
Japan-Taiwan Dialogue 2018
The Prospect Foundation and Society of Security and Diplomatic Policy Studies
21st June 2018, Taipei, Taiwan.
The Prospect Foundation, Taiwan, in association with the Society of Security and Diplomatic Policy Studies (SSDP), Japan held the Japan-Taiwan Dialogue 2018. This dialogue was attended by prominent academics, and a number of government officials who deliberated and shared views in two key sessions –
- Taiwan identity and Cross-Strait Relations: Current Status, Challenges, and the Way forward.
- Trump's Taiwan Policy and the Future of Taiwan – U.S. Relations
Opening remarks were provided by Dr. Tan-Sun Chen, Chairman, The Prospect Foundation and Mr. Masahiro Akiyama, President, Society of Security and Diplomatic Policy Studies.
Annex 1: List of Participants
Annex 2: Conference Programme
Session 1: Taiwan identity and Cross-Strait Relations: Current Status, Challenges, and the Way Forward.
Moderator: Dr. I-Chung Lai, President, The Prospect Foundation
Dr. Szu-Chien Hsu, President, Taiwan Foundation for Democracy
Dr. Hsu started his presentation with a brief introduction regarding the current Tsai Ing-wen administration's policy on managing Cross-Strait relations. Recently there has been a reshuffling of personnel in some of the Tsai administrations portfolios. Assessing these changes, Dr. Hsu believed that the newly appointed Minister of the Mainland Affairs Council of the Executive Yuan, Mr. Chen Ming-tong in comparison to his predecessor, could be expected to be more confident in adopting necessary measures to manage Cross-Strait relations. This would be so because Mr. Ming-tong is not only much closer to the Tsai administration, but he has also had very long and direct interactions with the Chinese policy circle.
One example to highlight this is that, in Taiwan there is a lot of "fake news", on Cross-Strait relations but also other domestics politics such as pension reform. On Cross-Strait relations, news is usually disseminated by social media such as Line, but on Cross-Strait relations this "fake news" is often disseminated by mainstream media, which are essentially only a few newspapers in Taiwan.
Regarding this, Dr. Hsu stated that one of these newspapers, whose position is very close to that of mainland China policies issued a report on certain issues regarding Cross-Strait relations. That very day, Mr. Chen Ming-tong and the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) issued a statement rebutting and criticizing by name that very newspaper for disseminating fake news: such kind of direct, affirmative and speedy reactions according to Dr. Hsu are generally unprecedented, and this illustrates a much more reactive stance taken by the MAC and Taiwanese Government.
Furthermore, earlier this year, the Dominican Republic, due to pressure from mainland China severed diplomatic ties with Taiwan. Reacting to this, President Tsai released a statement declaring that Taiwan would no longer yield into this kind of pressure. Thus, in order to deal with this mounting pressure from mainland China on Taiwan's diplomatic allies, MAC has adopted certain measure constraining the travel of certain Mainland Chinese officials to Taiwan. Though it is sometimes difficult to differentiate between the civilian exchange and the work that these officials carry out for the United Front Work Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, the Taiwanese government has still been rigid in approving travel of Chinese government officials, including local Chinese government officials to Taiwan. Thus, from Dr. Hsu's perspective, he stated that this is a measure that should have been taken earlier, in order to constrain the work of the United Front in Taiwan. He reiterated that it is necessary to take affirmative action to the aggressive policies taken by the Chinese government.
Moving forward, his presentation comprised of three key parts, with all parts focusing on Taiwan's youth.
Part 1: The Taiwanese Youth commitment to democracy
Dr. Hsu Introduced a survey he had conducted this year, for the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy, a Taiwanese think tank, amongst the Taiwanese youth. He stated that in the West, primarily after the ‘Sunflower Movement', there has been growing concern that the youth in Taiwan have a passion for democracy, and are "irresponsibly provocative", yet they are unwilling to pay for it, and are also not very committed to self-defense. Thus, the aim of Dr. Hsu's survey was to address this image that he feels has been projected regarding the youth of Taiwan.
In his own survey, Dr. Hsu posed the following question to Taiwanese people: although there are some problems with democracy, is it still the best political system? Results showed that people under the age of 39 (young people) are the group that has the highest support for democracy.
Dr. Hsu stated that this has to do with a study conducted in the West (U.S. and Europe), i.e., a study by Foa and Mounk (2016), which showed that in comparison with their older age cohorts, the young people in the U.S and Europe are less committed to democratic values.
Against this background, this study posed the following question to its audience in the West - is "having a democratic political system is a bad or very bad way to run this country"? In the U.S. in the 16-24 age bracket, there are around 25 percent who agree, i.e., the younger the people, the more likely they are to agree with this argument. In Europe as well, the trend is similar.
On the other hand, in Taiwan, a different question was posed: "do you feel good or bad if we have an authoritarian regime in our country"? People who agree- the younger the people, the less they agreed with this. Thus, this reiterates Dr. Hsu's point that unlike in the West, Taiwan does not have a crisis of democratic values amongst its youth.
Part 2: Cross Strait Relations
In dealing with Cross-Strait relations, a trend/study was conducted by the MAC. This research study addresses peoples attitude to cross strait relations, and comes out with six categories of answers. Dr. Hsu found that ‘Maintaining the status quo' always has the highest percentage, followed by ‘status quo forever'. Thus, according to this survey, the status quo is the major consensus amongst Taiwanese young people.
These six categories, were further simplified into three categories by Dr. Hsu, with each category further divided by age:
According to Dr. Hsu, what is clearly visible is that there is a significant difference between the younger generation, i.e., those under the age of 39 and the older cohort who are generally more pro status-quo. If those under the age of 39, are further divided into two groups, those between the ages of 20-29 and 30-39, the result shows almost the same opinions regarding status quo. However, in these younger ages groups, Dr. Hsu found that those who were pro-independence was even higher and pro-unification even lower.
Along these lines, based on a study by a Sociology Professor in 2005, two questions were asked. The first question is, whether the two sides should be reunified if China becomes a democracy, and the second question is, whether Taiwan should claim independence if such a claim would not result in a war? While these two questions are hypothetical, Dr. Hsu believes that by testing and cross referring these questions, one can get a better idea regarding people's attitudes. For this study, it must be noted that the younger age cohort would be 39 years and less, and the older age cohort would be 40 years and over.
Regarding whether the two sides should be reunified if China becomes a democracy, Dr. Hsu found that there was a significant difference amongst young people. Even if china was a democracy, 73 percent of young people did not agree that Taiwan and mainland China should be unified and only 24.4 percent agreed. Whereas, in the older age cohort, percentage of people that agreed and disagreed (43.9 percent and 43.8 percent), were almost the same. In the older age cohort, 53.7 percent disagreed, and 36.4 percent agreed.
Addressing the next question, whether Taiwan should claim independence if such a claim would not result in a war? Interestingly, Dr. Hsu observed that though one would assume in this case that the majority of Taiwanese youth would agree to this proposition, this was not so. Indeed, in this scenario, the percentage of the youth that disagreed and agreed (50.9 percent and 46.2 percent) were almost the same, which makes this a little bit counterintuitive.
Dr. Hsu stated that in Taiwanese, there is a term that states that the naturally born young people in Taiwan are pro- independence. However, based on the above studies, if we asses these figures, they are in reality naturally anti-unification, and not necessarily pro-independence. Dr. Hsu believes that this is a more accurate description of their attitude.
Moving forward with this study, Dr. Hsu cross tapped these two questions and came up with the following assessment:
- "Pragmatism" or double identity - if one agrees that if china were to become a democracy, there should be reunification, and there is also an agreement on independence. Thus, those that agree on both. While there are some people, Dr. Hsu stated that this category does not have many people supporting it (with roughly about 13.1 percent of the 1600 respondents).
- "Chinese Nationalism" - if you agree with that if china were to become a democracy, we should have reunification, but disagree with independence. This group has 18.7 percent.
- "Taiwanese Nationalism" - people that would agree with independence if there is no war to be fought, and also disagree with unification even if China were to become a democracy. This group had about 26.5 percent of the respondents.
- "Status Quo" - if you were to disagree on both of the above, then it would be referred to as the real Status Quo. This is the biggest group with 31.3 percent of the 1600 respondents.
The next question posed was whether the respondents thought that China would have a good or bad influence on Taiwan's economic development in the long run?
The average that agreed with this, was approximately 51 percent. However, the interesting part is that in answering this question, was that the percentage of the young cohort that agreed was about 63 percent, and they were even more positive about china's economic impact.
Thus, Dr. Hsu stated that from this result, we must assess what is this young cohort thinking?
Dr. Hsu believes that this young cohort is very pragmatic: on the one hand, they would like to grasp the economic opportunity provided by china. But, on the other hand, they are also very firm about Chinese identity.
Part 3: Defense Issues
Addressing growing concerns regarding defense issues, a question posed by Professor Emerson Niou, of Duke University was: if Taiwan and Mainland China went to war, what would you do? However, according to Dr. Hsu, a point to note regarding this survey was that the question asked was open ended, i.e., there were no fixed answers to select from and instead respondents were able to give an answer of choice. This according to Dr. Hsu made the survey a bit arbitrary.
After gathering the answers, Professor Emerson, who has been conducting this study for ten years, divided them into various categories. The category that stood out for Dr. Hsu was that 18 percent of the people (over the age of 40) would like to run away, and 27 percent of young people (below the age of 39) would like to run away. The statistics and answers according to Dr. Hsu are one of the major reasons that have contributed to the impression that Taiwanese young people would like to run away. However, Dr. Hsu does not believe this.
Thus, in order to deal with this misconception, in his survey Dr. Hsu poses two questions:
Firstly, would you fight for Taiwan if Taiwan formally announced independence that causes mainland China to use force against Taiwan? This survey had to be answered by stating ‘Yes' or ‘No'. Those who answered ‘Yes' were about 56 percent, and ‘No' were 35.9 percent. In this it is worth noting that precondition is Taiwan is the trouble maker.
The second question is would you fight for Taiwan if mainland china uses force against Taiwan for unification? The people that answered ‘Yes' were 68 percent. Thus it can be seen that there is a 13 percent difference between the respondents that answered ‘Yes' to the first question, and those that responded ‘Yes' to the second question. And this is the result that Dr. Hsu wanted to bring to our attention.
If this is to be broken down by people who have higher support for democracy, in the group that has higher support for democracy, the number of people who would like to fight for Taiwan is even higher. Furthermore, in facing China's military threat for coercive unification, around 70 percent of Taiwanese are committed to fight against China. Along these lines, Dr. Hsu believes that it is these democratic values that would help Taiwanese people fight against the threat from China. Thus, a final, important aspect that was able to be seen from the survey, based on results, was that people's commitment for democracy, encourages people's commitment for self-defense.
- The Taiwanese youth are not "irresponsibly provocative". Indeed, they have a strong commitment to democratic value and self-defense.
- Taiwanese youth have stronger Taiwan Nationalism. However, compared with other age cohorts, the cohort of the age bracket 20-29 has a stronger tendency to maintain status quo.
- The youth between 20-29 identify more with maintaining status quo, than with Taiwan Nationalism.
- The essence of "natural independence" is actually "anti-unification".
- In facing China's military threat for coercive unification, around 70 percent of Taiwanese are committed to fight.
- Democratic values help Taiwanese people fight against the threat from China.
Professor Yasuhiro Matsuda, Professor, Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia, The University of Tokyo
Xi Jinping's Taiwan Policy in the Second Term
Professor Matsuda began his presentation with a brief introduction regarding a paper he had written one year ago, titled "A lost opportunity or the Dawn of A New Normal?" Based on his observations from this paper, Professor Matsuda believes that there is a good opportunity for President Tsai and President Jinping to achieve a certain consensus regarding the Cross-Strait Relations.
For example, when President Jinping met with President Ma Ying-jeou in November 2015, he established the use of a new phrase "as long as they admit the historical fact of the '1992 consensus' and agree with its core implications." Along these line, in May 2016, President Tsai recognized a number of pertinent issues: the ‘historical fact of the 1992 consensus'; the existing Republic of China constitutional order; and the Act Governing Relations Between the People of Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area, alongside other relevant legislation. It must be kept in mind, that these elements mentioned and recognized by her, are quite positive and important elements for mainland China's core value of the "One China" policy. Thus, Professor Matsuda believes that in choosing to recognize and acknowledge them, President Tsai made a very big concession regarding the expression about the characteristics of Cross-Strait relations.
However, in response to President Tsai's statements, the Taiwan Affairs Office stated that President Tsai's statement was an incomplete answer. Professor Matsuda has sought answers to understand how "incomplete" her statements were, and from various discussions he has had, he grasped that her statements were a little less than what one would call the ‘passing level'. However, in his personal opinion, Professor Matsuda stated that President Tsai did indeed make a very big effort to meet Mainland China's requirements.
Thus, this leads one to ask is this a ‘Lost Opportunity or the New Normal'?
While President Tsai describes this as a lost opportunity, Professor Matsuda believes that if this were to continue for a long time, it may become the ‘Dawn of a New Normal'.
What is this New Normal? – no official contacts, but some unofficial communications, as well as no big moves that would provoke a war. Thus, this would be a very unclear situation.
On the other hand, Professor Matsuda stated that if this is a mutual hurting stalemate, where both Taiwan and China feel that they cannot endure anymore, then there may be motivation to sit down and conduct talks. However, if this status quo is a mutually endurable stalemate, then this stalemate or status quo will continue.
Continuation of the Previous Taiwan Policy: ‘Carrots and Sticks'
As President Xi Jinping becomes stronger, the key question that arises is what is the major change after the 19th Party congress? In assessing the report of the 19th party congress, Professor Matsuda stated that there is no big change, and it is almost a continuation of the previous Chinese Government's policy, i.e., a carrots and sticks approach.
Prior to the 19th Party congress, President Tsai did not clearly acknowledge the 1992 consensus, and this resulted in a huge hardline call from mainland China for reunification by force. The mainland went further to outline a "timetable of unification".
Further, since Mao Zedong, President Xi Jinping has become the strongest leader, and he has demonstrated this with a number of changes. For example, in the 19th Party congress report, President Jinping utilized new phrases used such as "community with a shared future for mankind" – to this Professor Matsuda stated that he could not understand the difference between this "community" and the community of a regular harmonious world. Another example is that during the National People's Congress, President Jinping also lifted the term limit for the Chinese President such that he now can now run for more than two terms.
President Jinping continued many of the previous policies established by his predecessors regarding the Taiwan issue. Below is a list of a number of policies that continued:
- "Peaceful unification" and "one country, two systems" – this has remained, and is a very old phrase.
- One-China principle – remains unchanged.
- Peaceful development of cross-Strait relations – This has not changed at all. This policy was established by former Chinese President Hu Jintao, with the aim to be a long-term goal of peaceful unification, but this is not an easy task for the mainland.
- Recognize the historical fact of the 1992 Consensus – this historical fact has emerged again under president Jinping, and Professor Matsuda stated that there is still a discourse for President Tsai to admit certain issues related or similar to the 1992 consensus.
- We will expand Cross-Strait economic and cultural exchanges and cooperation for mutual benefits – it was expected by some that this phrase would replace "Peaceful Development", but it did not. Basically, the term was the same as the previous policy and adhered to the fact that people in Taiwan would enjoy the same treatment as the people from mainland China.
- Forge closer bonds between people from both sides.
- Six "Any's": never allow any separatist activities – this was strengthened compared to the previous party's report.
- Achieve the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation – there is a timetable for this to be achieved by 2049, with the tentative goal set at 2035. This has led some to speculate that President Jinping would like to achieve unification with Taiwan by 2035, however, a clear timetable is still lacking.
Thus, against this background, Professor Matsuda posed the question: what actual policies were taken? Professor Matusda divided these approaches into "Big Carrots, and Big Sticks".
Big Carrots: 31 Measures to "Benefit" Taiwan
Referring to them as "Big Carrots", the Taiwan Affairs Office brought out 31 measures to promote Cross-Strait economic and cultural exchanges and cooperation, i.e., 31 measure to "benefit" Taiwan. However, Professor Matsuda stated that some of these policies don't even "benefit" Taiwan at all. For example, welcoming the move of Taiwan's Research and Development Centre moving from Taiwan to mainland China – is this good for Taiwan, or does this only benefit China?
That said, Professor Matsuda noted that the way China has publicized these measures this time, has been interesting. In the past, during the Chen Shui-bian period, China asked the Kuomintang (KMT), and used the KMT- CCP (Communist Party of China) platform to announce these policies from the mainland that "benefit" Taiwan. And during Ma Ying-jeou's period, they held the cross strait talks then announced these so called benefitting policies.
However, unlike these previous instances, this time around it was announced unilaterally by mainland China. With regards to this Professor Matsuda stated that - what is now being seen with President Jinping's new government is that it does not matter whether the DPP Government or KMT Government were in power; the so-called benefitting Taiwan policies from now would be announced unilaterally – and this is not bad at all.
Other measures to benefit Taiwan can be seen in the business domain. Qualified Taiwanese companies can cooperate with their mainland counterparts in order to provide small payment and credit services for Taiwanese people. They can also participate in government procurement and other infrastructure construction projects, receive subsidies, and take tax deductions. In the entertainment field as well, restrictions on Taiwanese actors and actresses and on importing Taiwanese films and television dramas to mainland China will either be lifted or relaxed.
Big Sticks: Diplomatic and Military Struggles
Having addressed the Big carrots, professor Matsuda stated that Mainland China also simultaneously holds hardline approaches, or what he referred to as "Big Sticks".
One area where mainland China's hardline approach is clearly visible is with regards to Taiwan's Diplomatic Allies – Professor Matsuda believes that given the consistent pressure from mainland China, Taiwan would lose almost one diplomatic ally every year.
Four of Taiwan's diplomatic allies have already severed ties. Sao Tome and Principe in December 2016 severed ties because of President Tsai's phone call to then President Elect of the U.S., Donald Trump. Panama severed diplomatic in June 2017. Panama is a strategic choke point in the western hemisphere, and thus it has always been a goal for China's Foreign Policy.
Additionally, the Dominican Republic and Burkina Faso both in May 2018, severed diplomatic ties with Taiwan. Professor Matsuda stated that in doing so, both these countries were clearly targeting Taiwan's Premier, William Lai Ching-te remarks on Taiwan's independence. In September 2017, China did not respond seriously to Premier Ching-te's remarks stating that he is a supporter of Taiwan's independence. However, subsequently when he made these remarks for the second-time, China treated these remarks as a very strong provocation, as these statements are inconsistent with the non-provocative status-quo policy of President Tsai.
Rumor on the Vatican severing diplomatic ties with Taiwan – Professor Matsuda stated that although this issue is also due to regular pressure from Mainland China, he believes this issue is related more to the domestic stability of China, primarily because the Vatican's influence in Taiwan is not easily tolerable for Mainland China. Furthermore, the Vatican is Taiwan's only diplomatic ally in Europe, thus China will use this as regular propaganda.
Though there is also pressure on Taiwan regarding multilateral bodies such as APEC, Professor Matsuda finds this to be "inconsistent". For example, during the Asia Pacific Economic Forum (APEC), President Tsai requested James Soong to be Taiwan's representative, and China accepted it. Thus, this can be interpreted as China not aiming to pressurize President Tsai or ruin Taiwan's existence in the international arenas, but instead it can be seen as China applying "inconsistent" pressure.
On the other hand, Military pressure is rising, and China's presence in the region is increasing, and not decreasing. For example, China is patrolling airspace in the region with bombers, spy planes and sometimes fighter jets; live firing drills are increasing; and China has also repeatedly sailed its aircraft carrier ‘the Liaoning' through the Taiwan strait. Due to the fact that China is expanding its military capabilities, Professor Matusda believes that these expansions are "natural". However, he stated that on some occasions, China uses this as propaganda, i.e., for example, China used these measures to counter attack Premier Lai Ching-te's remarks on Taiwan's independence.
With regard to these increasing military activities, Professor Matsuda stated that he believes Mainland China is worried if for instance there is a miss shot of missiles by the Taiwanese. This could create a highly provocative situation between China and Taiwan, and thus this must be treated very sensitively and with great care.
In conclusion, Professor Matsuda reiterated that there is a continuation of China's previous policies to Taiwan. Furthermore, President Jinping, has become extremely powerful and has consolidated his power base. Because of his ambitious nature, Professor Matsuda believes that it is his long-term goal is to "solve" this Taiwan issue during his term.
However, for now, President Jinping has not prioritized the Taiwan issue. Currently for President Jinping, there are more pressing issues at both the international and domestic level, such as President Trump, the North Korean nuclear issue, improving relations with Japan, and many domestic reforms that need implementing.
Thus, for now, what President Jinping has done is to consolidate both the carrots and sticks. In doing so the ‘New Normal' of the Cross-Strait relations is no official contacts, and some unofficial contacts to try avoiding misunderstandings. Additionally, regular sporadic pressure will continue. Thus, Taiwan has at least about five years of time and space to survive.
Question and Answer Session
Initiating the Q & A session, Dr. Lai pointed out that while certainly some of President Jinping's policies remain the same as his predecessors, there are however some differences as well. Dr. Lai stated that it is is important to differentiate between President Jinping's and former President Jintao's policies.
Especially in 2013, during Ma Ying-jeou's second term, Taiwan experienced significant hardline policies because of President Jinping. Further, in November 2013 in the APEC forum, President Jinping spoke directly with the Taiwanese envoy and conveyed that the differences cannot last for years. Further under President Jinping, the Global Times, a Chinese official newspaper, criticized Ma Ying-jeou directly. These are some of the actions that have been very different from those taken by Hu Jintao.
Q). Dr. Szu-Chien Hsu
President Jinping has changed his Foreign Policy strategy in his second term, trying to take a milder approach to neighboring countries (Japan, India and ASEAN countries). What is your take regarding President Xi Jinping's efforts in trying to improve relations with these states, because at the same time he is increasing pressure on Taiwan? Is it that Taiwan is his target, while neutralizing other countries?
Professor Matsuda stated that there are continuations in policy from the current administrations first term and even from Hu Jintao's period. During his tenure, Hu Jintao had to confront Chen Shui-bian, and thus he set up the anti-secession law. Though the current situation is another version of this, the big difference is that in comparison to the Chen Shui-bian government, the current Tsai Ing-wen administration is less provocative and more status-quo oriented. Furthermore, President Tsai has never supported the independence of Taiwan. Thus, China's pressure is less assertive than what it was during the Chen Shui-bian period.
China also made some reflections about policy failures that were made during Ma Ying-jeou's period. China believed that they could bribe the hearts and minds of Taiwanese period, however they only succeeded in bribing the KMT this resulted in the sunflower movement. Thus, they also made another major change as to how to bride Taiwanese people.
The other reason that China has become much milder to other nations, but not to Taiwan is that Taiwan has changed: Ma Ying-jeou has gone, and President Tsai is now in power.
Q). Dr. Szu-Chien Hsu
Regarding Japan's policy to Taiwan, we have been witnessing a more positive attitude from Japan to China, and this can be seen in Japan's recognition (with conditions) of the Belt and Road Initiative. What is the significance of this?
Mr. Watanbe stated that Prime Minister Abe's policy to China is somewhat conciliatory, and this can be seen in his approach to Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank (AIIB). Prime Minister Abe is also keeping in mind calculations regarding foreign policy, i.e., he is seeking closer ties with the Chinese Government because economic relations are very important, and Abe himself has very close relations with the Japanese business community. Adding to Abe's foreign policy calculations on can also see his clear support for the "Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy", primarily after China established its AIIB and Belt and Road Initiative.
On the other hand, in the past, China has shown concern regarding Prime Minister Abe's security policies, his "conservative nature", as well as his pro-Taiwan stance.
Further, Prime Minister Abe also needed to consolidate his third term, and he needed to secure intra-party support within the LDP. For this both the Secretary General Toshihiro Nikai, as well as the LDP's coalition partner, the Komeito Party are pro-China. Thus, in order to secure their support, he gave into a conciliatory policy.
Q). Professor Yasuhiro Matsuda
Does Taiwan want to maintain its draft system in the military? Taiwan's population is one fifth of Japan, but the size of the military is almost same as the Japanese Self Defense Forces. Thus, without this draft system, it would seem difficult for Taiwan to maintain its military. Further, this does not seem to be a taboo, given the strong nationalism within the Taiwanese youth - what is the discussion within the Government?
In addressing this question, Dr. Hsu stated that it was Ma Ying-jeou who abolished this draft system, so the question that arises is that is it feasible to restore the draft system? Politically speaking, Dr. Hsu believes that it will be difficult to restore it. While, it looks difficult during President Tsai's first term, it could be possible in her second term.
That said, in the military sense Dr. Hsu was unsure as to whether it made sense to restore the draft system, primarily because these days the form of military combat is different, due to reliance on missiles, high technologies etc.
Further, when Dr. Hsu spoke with students, and some of the youth that took part in the sunflower movement, their opinion is that they hate the military in Taiwan, primarily because of the legacy of authoritarian culture in Taiwan. While, the military has not been properly democratized yet, Dr. Hsu believes that President Tsai has made an effort to make it more transparent.
Q). Dr. David Huang
Do you think President Jinping's policy to Taiwan ended up as a coherent strategy, and do they think that's these approaches can bring Taiwan back to mainland China? What is the best counter strategy for Taiwan – are there any other things that Taiwan can do to counter China's pressure?
Professor Matsuda stated that he was not confident if experts in China actually believed in their own policies, that is to say the Chinese try to brainwash themselves. There are also differences in personalities within the government which also affects policies being made. For example, on one hand China announces the benefitting Taiwan policy, however, the following day, they send an aircraft carrier. These actions are contradictory, and Professor Matsuda believes that this is China recognizing that their policies are not good.
Further, Professor Matsuda noted that it is important to preserve the governments strength, and right now the opposition party, the KMT is too weak. While, the strength of President Tsai's government is good compared to the previous government, there are issues regarding the implementation of policies which are related to the governance by the DPP. For example, President Tsai holds the position that she respects the status quo, however, the DPP premier states that he supports Taiwanese independence; and this mixed method is not good – there has to be one voice.
Q). Mr. Masahiro Akiyama
Were there some special means regarding the classification of the age groups in the survey? How was it decided that it should be 20-29, 30-39? How about the youth that is younger than 20?
Dr. Hsu stated that during the survey it was generally difficult to talk to individuals who were younger than 20, because they generally provide more unstable answers. Furthermore, the survey was conducted using landlines, and not mobile phones, so many times when a call was made to the house, the teenagers were either not home or willing to answer. To this Dr. Lai added that because in Taiwan as the voting age is above 20, this was one of the reasons to select the age group from 20-29.
Session 2: Trump's Taiwan Policy and the Future of Taiwan – U.S. Relations
Moderator- Mr. Tsuneo Watanabe, Senior Fellow, Sasakawa Peace Foundation
On the U.S. Policy on Taiwan and the Future of Taiwan-U.S. Relations
Mr. Hideshi Tokuchi
Taiwan from an American Perspective
Mr. Tokuchi introduced his presentation by first assessing Taiwan from various American perspectives, i.e., the American intellectuals and experts who recognize the importance of Taiwan to American national interest and maritime security.
Similar to Dr. James Stavridis, Robert Kaplan uses a similar expression in describing Taiwan, stating that "Taiwan is the cork in the bottle of the South China Sea, controlling access between Southeast Asia and Northeast Asia, the two security and conflict systems of the Pacific Rim." Along these lines, Mr. Tokuchi recognized that the strategic importance of Taiwan, especially in maritime security is much greater today; however, though this may be these case, Taiwan is not a "stopper" or a "cork." Instead, Mr. Tokuchi believes that this region will be a dangerous flashpoint in a Sino-American security competition as pointed out by John Mearsheimer.
Mr. Tokuchi moved on to assess various speeches regarding Americas Taiwan policy made by current and previous US Defense Secretaries. He pointed out that the only speech of a U.S. Defense Secretary at the Shangri-La Dialogue during the second term of the Obama Administration which referred to the bilateral relationship between the U.S. and Taiwan was Chuck Hagel's speech in 2013.
On the other hand, the speech by current U.S. Defense Secretary, James Mattis at the 2018 Shangri-La Dialogue seemed a little stronger in expression than the previous year. However, apart from some differences in connotation, the policy line seemed to be consistent. If compared with Chuck Hagel's speech, James Mattis speech seems to put larger emphasis on defense cooperation with Taiwan in order to protect it. However, Mr. Tokuchi believes that this should not be viewed as substantive shift of U.S. policy on Taiwan.
The U.S. policy is consistent that "The United States maintains a one China policy that is based on the three Joint Communiqués and the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA). The United States opposes any unilateral change to the status quo in the Taiwan Strait by either side and does not support Taiwan independence. The United States continues to support the peaceful resolution of Cross-Strait issues in a manner, scope, and pace acceptable to both sides."
Regarding this policy, Mr. Tokuchi highlighted an aspect which he referred to as a "confusing element of U.S. foreign policy making": the intervention of the legislative branch to the prerogative of the executive branch, such as that shown in the recent enactment of the Taiwan Travel Act. Besides this, Mr. Tokuchi argued that the U.S. policy remains consistent.
Environment Surrounding Taiwan-US Relations
Analyzing China's policy toward Taiwan, Mr. Tokuchi quoted President Xi Jinping, who stated that China is trying to "work tirelessly to realize the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation." President Jinping further stated that "Resolving the Taiwan question to realize China's complete unification is the shared aspiration of all Chinese people, and is in the fundamental interests of the Chinese nation," and "We have the resolve, the confidence, and the ability to defeat separatist attempts for "Taiwan independence" in any form."
While President Jinping emphasized peaceful the reunification of China and the peaceful development of cross-Straits relations, Article 8 of China's March 2005 Anti-Secession Law states that China may use "non-peaceful means" if "secessionist forces…cause the fact of Taiwan's secession from China," if "major incidents entailing Taiwan's secession" occur, or if "possibilities for peaceful reunification" are exhausted. The National Security Law of 2015 also domestically legalized the use of non-peaceful means for the unification. Thus, with regards to this, the U.S. assessment is that China's strategy continues to incorporate elements of both persuasion and coercion.
With regard to the U.S. policy towards Cross-Strait relations, on February 9, 2017, U.S. President, Donald Trump agreed at the request of President Jinping, to honor their "one China" policy. However, Mr. Tokuchi stated that President Trump's fickleness and unpredictability will continue to linger, and thus, careful management of Taiwan-U.S. relations will be required on both sides.
Taiwan-US Bilateral Security Relations
Taiwan-U.S. security relations can be divided into two categories: hardware aspect and software aspect. Mr. Tokuchi stated that for the U.S., arms sale to Taiwan is a clear indication of U.S. commitment to the security of Taiwan and a reassuring message to U.S. regional allies on the credibility of U.S. defense commitments. Taiwan views U.S. arms sale to Taiwan as a crucial indicator of the state of the Taiwan-U.S. defense relationship. From the Taiwanese view-point, it carries "a very strong political nuance" and is "a symbol of US support."
On the other hand, the U.S. approach to the security of Taiwan is not just about arms sales. Growing emphasis has been placed on an approach centered on software, which covers, among others, policy dialogue, training and education, reform of Taiwan's military structure. Taiwan views that the efforts in this aspect laid solid foundations for the Taiwan-US defense partnership.
Dialogue and consultation between Taiwan and the U.S. are five-layered: high-level national security meetings; national defense authority level; service level; defense industrial level; and experts and scholar level. The Monterey Talks between the U.S. DoD and Taiwan NSC is the top-level annual dialogue. The national defense authority level channel includes U.S.-Taiwan Defense Review Talks, the U.S.-Taiwan Security Cooperation Dialogue and the General Officer Steering Group. The service level talks are held between the U.S. Pacific Command (now, Indo-Pacific Command) and Taiwan military, with talks called Luwei for the army, Bihai for the navy and Lantian for the air force. The defense industrial level cooperation is represented by a track 1.5 conference called the U.S.-Taiwan Defense Industry Conference. Mr. Tokuchi stated that intellectuals and think tanks are instrumental to the development of the bilateral relationship because of the unique status of Taiwan in the international community.
The Taiwan Debate in the U.S.
According to the NIDS report, there are three broad categories or schools of thought on the appropriate U.S.-Taiwan policy: first, abandonment of Taiwan; second, strengthening relations with Taiwan; and third, maintaining the status quo. Mr. Tokuchi stated that as the second and third categories do not have fundamental differences, the NIDS's classification is somewhat arguable.
Mr. Tokuchi thus proposed to look into some typical advocates, taking up one or two from each category. He refers to John Mearsheimer from the first category, to Kurt Campbell and Dean Cheng out of the second, and to Douglas Paal from the third.
First, Mearsheimer argues that once China becomes a superpower, it would probably makes the most sense for Taiwan to give up hope of maintaining its de facto independence and instead pursue the "Hong Kong strategy," which means to lose its independence and to become part of China, though he admits that it is definitely not an attractive option.
His argument is based on the two points. First, China will have much more capability than it has today, and thus it will become impossible for the U.S. to defend Taiwan. Second, if China looks like the U.S. is preventing the unification China contemplates, it will easily precipitate a Sino-American war that is not in American interest. As he himself somewhat seems to admit, his argument is schizophrenic, because he also argues that if the U.S. were to fail to defend Taiwan in a crisis with China, that would surely send a strong signal to America's other allies in the region. Mr. Tokuchi also pointed out that Mearsheimer undervalues the strategic location of Taiwan in the Sino-American competition at sea. Further Mr. Tokuchi also believes that the argument for abandoning Taiwan is not prevailing in the U.S.
Second, Kurt Campbell argues that the American partnership with Taiwan which advances U.S. economic and security interests, is rooted in shared values, and will have a big impact on the way American partners and allies view the U.S. across Asia. Based on this recognition, he argues for maintaining close ties with Taiwan. One of his policy recommendations is to maintain and improve upon the bilateral security framework that the two sides have together established.
Thirdly, Dean Cheng argues for US support of the modernization of Taiwan Navy including sales of AEGIS ships and modernization of its submarine force. He also argues for having Taiwan Navy in RIMPAC, where PLA was invited. Cheng's argument is based on his recognition that the Taiwan Strait is a key international waterway, that preserving its stability is also in the American interest, and that in accordance with TRA, the U.S. is legally obligated to help this democratic island provide for its maritime security.
Mr. Tokuchi stated that the above-mentioned "abandon" theory will not win strong support in the U.S. security community, and that the unofficial relations between Taiwan and the U.S. will continue to grow in spite of some occasional ups and downs. Intervention of the Congress in this diplomatic issue will continue to provide some uncertainty to the relationship, but the impact will be limited as we see today in the aftermath of the Taiwan Travel Act.
Implication for Taiwan-Japan Security Relations
The development of the Taiwan-U.S. security relations demonstrates that a number of things can be done to maintain the unofficial status of the relationship. The observation of U.S. officials is interesting to note, as Dennis Hickey emphasizes, that U.S. unofficial relations with Taiwan are closer than the U.S. official relations with most governments. Mr. Tokuchi believes that this is probably a similar observation to be made on Japan's relationship with Taiwan.
Having said so, Mr. Tokuchi stated that we should keep the following three points in mind:
One, the difference of the starting point. Until 1979, the U.S. was the ally of Taiwan and there is a long history of alliance cooperation between the two countries. Even now, Taiwan is a de facto ally of the U.S. under the TRA. Today's security cooperation between Taiwan and the U.S. is based on this institutional basis. On the other hand, there has been no such relationship between Taiwan and Japan. Japan has not established a clearly defined Taiwan policy, either.
Two, the relation between the executive branch and the legislative branch of the government. The U.S. Congress has a tradition to adopt legislation to conduct foreign policy. The U.S. executive branch is stricter in the distribution of power than the legislative branch as shown in the case of Foreign Relations Authorization Act of FY2003. When the U.S. Congress forced a provision to call the president to study the feasibility of expanding U.S.-Taiwan military ties into it, the then president declared that the provision "impermissibly interferes with the President's constitutional authority to conduct the nation's foreign affairs," but there have been a number of such practices in Washington. Japan is different. Although Japan has adopted a parliamentary cabinet system, it is not possible to imagine that the Japanese National Diet would interfere into the cabinet's conduct of diplomacy by legislation.
Three, consideration on the provocation of China and on the benefit for Taiwan. The calculation on these two points is always important. The point is how Taiwan can survive and prosper free from coercion. If Taiwan has to pay the price for the provocation and accordingly its survival is endangered, it is not what Japan wants. Any action for security cooperation would provoke China anyway, but Japan would have to be careful. Some actions to strengthen the relations with Taiwan may not necessarily provoke China heavily if the U.S. does, but the same actions may provoke China heavily if Japan does. Careful calculation and skillful consideration will be important. Japan's calculation on this point may be different from Taiwan's, and therefore close exchange of views on this point will be mandatory.
Along these lines, Mr. Tokuchi put forward an idea for practical security cooperation between Taiwan and Japan. It is a Taiwan-Japan version of GCTF. In 2015, the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States (TECRO) signed an MOU creating the Global Cooperation and Training Framework, or GCTF – a vehicle for the United States to help showcase Taiwan's strengths and expertise by addressing global and regional concerns.
GCTF is designed to address global challenges in such areas as international humanitarian assistance, public health, environmental protection, energy, technology, education and regional development. It is not about traditional security but relevant to non-traditional security. This idea would not be easy to realize, and Mr. Tokuchi believes that it would not be realized soon. Thus, if any practical cooperation is necessary, the first thing to do is to share a common vision between the two sides. In order to have a shared vision, each side must establish a strategy on the bilateral relations.
Dr. David W. F. Huang, Associate Research Fellow, Institute of European and American Studies, Academia Sinica
Trump's Taiwan Policy and the Future of Taiwan-U.S. Relations
Dr. Huang began his presentation stating that given the state of the current U.S. – Taiwan relations, his presentation would hold more questions than answers. Thus, his aim was to be more provocative, as this would enable greater deliberations.
Does President Trump Have a Taiwan Policy?
Regarding some of the policies that President Trump implemented after becoming President, Dr. Huang was quite disappointed with the decision to drop Obama's policy of the U.S. rebalance to Asia, as he believed that this would greatly affect Taiwan. He thus hoped that rebalancing would continue to the newly found Indo-Pacific strategy.
However, the real big question is that - does President Trump have a Taiwan Policy?
To this Dr. Huang stated that is difficult for one to understand whether President Trump actually has a Taiwan policy.
Moving forward, Dr. Huang posed his next question - what does it mean when President Trump says that he understands the U.S. "one China policy"? The reason for asking this question is that upon the request of President Jinping, President Trump pledged to adhere to the U.S. one China Policy. However, subsequently, President Trump's actions in taking President Tsai's phone call lead many experts to question whether he really did understand the U.S. one china policy.
Against this background, Dr. Huang went on to question whether the U.S. one China policy, and President Trump's idea of the content of the U.S. one China policy are the same or different? That is to say, in President Trump's mind, is the U.S. one china policy more about China or more about Taiwan? Further, if Trump is concerned about Taiwan, what is the nature of his concerns? Is it whether Taiwan is a loyal client such that it can purchase U.S. weapons or is Taiwan an ally?
Additionally, does the Trump administrations one China policy stand for President Trump's idea about Taiwan? If yes, until when? What is the goal of the U.S. one China policy under the Trump administration? Is it maintaining the status quo as we know it or is it maintaining the status quo that is yet to be defined by President Trump?
Dr. Huang stated that these are very pertinent questions that need to be answered if one is to better understand U.S. – Taiwan relations.
What is the Trump Administrations One China policy?
The U.S. Government consistently reiterates that its "one China Policy" which is based on three Communiques and Taiwan Relation Act (plus the recent six assurances), remains unchanged. However, Dr. Huang pointed out that the U.S. administrative discretion of the "one China policy" keeps changing, depending on how the U.S. perceives external challenges as well as and any internal changes of its strategic rationale.
Thus, the question then becomes, is there an increasing trend of de-coupling the U.S.-Taiwan policy from its policy toward China? Dr. Huang stated that it is very important to distinguish the U.S. policy toward China and the U.S. policy toward Taiwan – are these two interlinked with each other, or can they be separate from each other?
From the Taiwan side, one would actually like to see that the U.S. government is actually de-coupling or de-linking its policy toward China from its policy toward Taiwan. Is this the case right now, and do we have evidence?
Since there is a difficulty to answer this, Dr. Huang put forth two examples, to which he asked how do we interpret these actions put forth in the examples? The first example being the U.S. disregard of China's protests by signing the Taiwan Travel Act, and the second example is the selling of weapons and transferring submarine technology to Taiwan. Can these two examples be counted as evidence that the U.S. government under President Trump is de-coupling its Taiwan policy from its policy toward China?
Furthermore, how does one interpret the removal of the Republic of China's (Taiwan's) flag from the U.S. State Department's website? Was this due to the pressure of China or was this due to an internal review of the policy?
Changing Practices Without Changing Tones? Or vice versa?
Against this background, Dr. Huang stated that the overall tenet of the U.S. - China relations has changed from engagement/cooperation to containment/competition. If one looks at the 2017 U.S. NSS (National Security Strategy), there is no unambiguous sentence regarding the fact that Russia and China are the two most important challenges to the U.S. strategic interests in the region. As such, does competition seems to be the major tenet of U.S. current policy towards China?
Thus, if there is strategic competition between the U.S. and China then that Strategic competition would define the parameters of the U.S. "one China policy", in which Taiwan becomes a strategic asset for the U.S.
Though there are several debates as to whether Taiwan is a strategic asset or strategic liability for the U.S., Dr. Huang stated that until now there had been not much disagreement over the value of Taiwan as a U.S. strategic asset. However, the problem begins to arise when President Trump's traditional approach kicks in, as this makes one lose the ability to comprehend whether the asset is truly an asset or simply an asset for the moment that would be traded off at a later time.
Amidst this uncertainty, Dr. Huang believes that at the moment, Taiwan is enjoying some of the best offers from the Trump administration, whose aim is to increase the value of Taiwan as an asset. Thus, here is no doubt that the current status of the U.S. – Taiwan relations is in good shape.
Against this background, one can ask is what we observe changing practices, without changing tones? Or vice-versa? Simply put, in the one china policy, the tone is almost the same, the words are the same, but are there any changing practices?
Dr. Huang's observation regarding this is that in order for the U.S. to increase the value of Taiwan as a strategic asset, the U.S. congress should pass high symbolic and friendly acts toward Taiwan. In order to not provoke China, there is no need for President Trump to sign on some of these acts, instead President Trump can just wait for them to become valid in effect. This on one hand reassures U.S. commitment to Taiwan and on the other hand it also reminds China that Taiwan is still on the U.S. side.
While Dr. Huang argues that the logical consequence of China's bullying of Taiwan is to push Taiwan closer to the U.S. camp, he believes that the Chinese authorities think contrary to this, i.e, they assume that Taiwan has already aligned with the U.S. Thus, the marginal utility of pushing Taiwan closer to the U.S. out of China's own bullying policy, is very limited. Further, Dr. Huang stated that the Chinese authorities assume that punishing Taiwan is to press the weak link of U.S. alliance system - a move based on its strategic competition against the U.S.
Since the initiation of the Trump Administrations term, if one asses the instances of moves made in bilateral relations between the U.S. and Taiwan and Taiwan and China (i.e., the important bilateral events between these states that have taken place), Dr. Huang believes that it can be argued that it is China's pressure and bullying against Taiwan increases U.S. support for Taiwan.
Thus, in order to reinforce this weak link, the U.S. begins to transfer sensitive technology to Taiwan and are keen to help Taiwan build up its indigenous industries together with the U.S. defense industries.
Future of U.S. – Taiwan Relations
Until now, Dr. Huang stated that the U.S. – Taiwan relations have been good, but he believes that they can still be better. One important step would be to enhance Taiwan's role in the U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy.
What is the basic tenet of the U.S. indo-pacific strategy? From the military side, Dr. Huang believes that it is about the continuing practice of the military rebalancing strategy. Regarding this, he believes that Taiwan now has closer defense cooperation with the U.S. However, under the economic and diplomatic initiatives of the of the U.S. rebalancing strategy, which could be used in the U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy, Japanese cooperation in this arena would be Beneficial. To this, Dr. Huang posed the question - what part of Japan's initiative in the Indo-Pacific strategy could Taiwan participate in?
Furthermore, the U.S and Japan should reaffirm their commitment to the peaceful resolution of Taiwan's international status. Recently China's diplomatic community has made aggressive moves and large efforts to alter Taiwan's standing in the international community, and this of course can be attributed as China's effort to erase Taiwan's international status in the international community. In dealing with this, Dr. Huang proposed that although a few diplomatic allies of Taiwan have begun to sever ties with Taiwan, if Japan and the U.S. were to reaffirm their preexisting perceptions of their recognition of Taiwan's status in the international community, and further reaffirm that though Taiwan's status at the moment is undetermined, it is still not a part of the PRC, this would be very important for the Taiwanese government. It would enable the government of Taiwan to reassure the Taiwanese people that even though China is trying to alter Taiwan's status in the international community, it would not change the perspectives of Taiwan's allies toward Taiwan.
Dr. Huang believes there is a way to recognize Taiwan's loyalty to the U.S. and one way to achieve this is by launching FTA negotiations between the U.S. and Taiwan, as well dealing with other agricultural issues on beef and pork.
Finally, Dr. Huang stated that Taiwan and the U.S. needed to think about the "real marriage" of their defense industries, as this would really enable Taiwan to upgrade its defense systems. The idea he proposed was that the relationship between the U.S. and Taiwanese defense industries should be similar to those between the U.S. and U.K., as well as the U.S. and France.
Dr. Huang once again reiterated that the U.S. – Taiwan relationship is so far so good. However, the bigger question would be, until when?
For this Taiwan has to be aware of this transactional problem with President Trump; be aware of the limitations of Trump's deal making instinct; be vigilant of the U.S. and China's grand bargains which fulfill both President Trump's and President Jinping's goals; and be worried about the collapse of the U.S. alliance system in Asia due to the fact that many states in Asia are now adopting hedging and bandwagoning strategies. This last point is a big worry for Taiwan, because unlike these other states, Taiwan has no choice but to be a U.S. ally.
Thus, while Taiwan would want to act as a responsible stakeholder in the region, it is also important that their partners also stick to the original principles and policies that would uphold regional stability.
One final observation made by Dr. Huang is that the recent moves by the Chinese authority to make Japanese airlines or various other airlines abide by their one china principle, it is not about Taiwan, it is actually about china trying to impose its own political correctness beyond its own borders. And from this, one could conclude that maybe Taiwan has been used as an excuse for China to export their real correctness.
Question and Answer Session
Mr. Watanabe initiated the Q & A round, by agreeing with Dr. Huang's observation on the increasing difficulty in dealing with both President Trump and China. However, Mr. Watanabe was also quick to point out that though this is a challenge, an important change is that many states in Asia such as Vietnam and Singapore, as well as many European states are beginning to agree with this position as well. Indeed, he observed that the EU acceptance of China's rise demonstrates a big change in the perception of China.
Q). Dr. Alvin YaoA
Regarding China's increasing assertive posture and military pressures, Dr. Yao posed a question as to whether intelligence sharing between Japan and Taiwan was a possibility? He stated that this step would be beneficial when dealing with the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) ships that pass through both the Miyako Strait, as well as the Bashi Channel.
In response to Dr. Yao's question, Mr. Tokuchi stated that intelligence cooperation and sharing between Taiwan and Japan is important, and given that China is a common threat for both states, Mr. Tokuchi himself is a personal advocate for the enhancement of security cooperation between both these countries. However, regarding this, what needs to be kept in mind is that Japan exercises extreme caution because of the effect that such moves could have in provoking China. In dealing with this concern, Mr. Tokuchi stated that Japan did not have to advertise to the Chinese if they started cooperation with Taiwan, and instead Japan could carry out their cooperation with Taiwan quietly.
One issue that Mr. Tokuchi pointed out is that at the moment there is no information regarding what kind of contact or cooperation has been made between Japan and Taiwan. Another issue, is that in the past, Taiwan's capability to protect classified information has been a big concern for Japan.
Addressing this question, Mr. Akiyama reiterated the importance of an intelligence exchange capability between both countries. However, he also stated that the Taiwanese side generally tries to publically announce these intelligence activities, which can provoke China. Thus, Mr. Akiyama proposed that the best way to deal with enhancing intelligence activities would be to carry out these activities, while simultaneously putting a bigger emphasis on other non-security related activities.
Q). Dr. I-Chung Lai
There are differences in Quad perceptions by the Quad states, what is Japans response to this?
In responding to this, Mr. Tokuchi pointed out that the concept of the Indo-Pacific is not new and has been around even during the Cold War. However, what is now important in this region are two big changes –
- The rise of India
- The rise of Africa
While, both these changes are very important for Japan's national interest, there are however two issues as well –
- The issue of stability in the Indian ocean. To ease this, it would be important to incorporate the Australians as well.
- There is also no clear definition on the Indo-Pacific strategy in India or Japan.
Thus, a closer exchange of views is needed between the Quad states that would help the U.S. establish a clear policy.
Mr. Watanabe added to the discussion and stated that the concept of the Indo-Pacific was not shared with many countries, such as the ASEAN and Pacific Island nations. He emphasized that the concept of the Indo-Pacific should not just be a Quad concept, but a Quad plus concept that is more inclusive. Along these lines, it would be important to involve South Korea as well, and also focus extensively on core common values such as democracy.
Professor Matsuda added to the debate, stating that while the Indo-Pacific may be a slogan at the moment, it is important to remember that any policy starts from a slogan and over time things will begin to materialize.
China has already begun to develop its regional strategy by promoting its concept such as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI); and Russia too has released its own strategy. With regards to this, Professor Matsuda stated that strategy is just a measure to achieve national interest and can be used negatively and positively. Thus, if China is strongly confrontational, the Indo- Pacific strategy would be good to contain china; on the other hand, if china is cooperative, this strategy can be used to cooperate.
Further, he recommended that Japan should pressure china to accept the Indo-Pacific concept, since Japan, as announced by Prime Minister Abe, agreed to conditionally recognize China's BRI. This situation (where China has not recognized the Indo-Pacific concept) according to Professor Matsuda, instills fear in ASEAN and Pacific Island states that if they support the Indo-Pacific concept, they would face Chinese retaliation. Thus, if China were to accept the policy of a free and open Indo-Pacific it would be beneficial for these smaller states as well.
Finally, professor Matsuda addressed the possibility of including Taiwan in this concept. He stated that if Japan and the U.S. could include Taiwan without putting Taiwan on the line of fire, it would be beneficial. As such, he proposed including Taiwan in less provocative concepts such as economic forums like the APEC. Another important example he cited was in 2014 the Taiwan National Palace Museum successfully held an event exhibition in Tokyo. This exhibition could be held due to the fact that the precondition was that it was being held to protect foreign arts in Japan.
Q). Dr. Yen-Chi Huang
Regarding the above issue, should Japan and Taiwan sign an MoU or just do as much as they can do with the content of the Global Cooperation and Training Framework (GCTF)?
Mr. Tokuchi's proposed idea regarding this was that Japan and the Taiwan Exchange Association should conclude an MoU. Whether this would be possible or not is unknown, however it is worthy of consideration.
Q). I-Ching Lai
Are there any diplomatic allies of Taiwan that are worried about Indo-Pacific or are they all China's diplomatic allies?
Addressing this, Dr. Huang stated that there is no clear evidence. However, the Pacific Islands states are currently debating how to choose between the U.S., China and Japan. Unlike the previous Obama administration, the current Trump administration is currently forcing them to choose sides.
What is certainly debatable is whether these Trump policies actually enable these Pacific Island states to choose. Due to the fact that the Pacific Island states don't want to choose sides, Dr. Huang wanted the participants to think about how we could convince these states that this is not the context.
Q). Mr. Tsuneo Watanbe
How do the Taiwanese view the recent Trump- Kim Jong-Un meeting, and how does this affect Taiwan-U.S. relations?
In answering this question, Dr. Lai stated that the conclusion is that both North and South Korea are big winners. For South Korea, this is also so because President Trump now holds the perception that it was South Korea that saved the Trump-Kim meeting, while China was trying to sabotage the Trump-Kim meeting.
Dr. Lai also noted that this meeting interestingly coincides with the tensions in China – U.S. trade negotiations. Due to this, it is plausible that China was using Trump's willingness to have a successful Trump-Kim meeting to obtain certain concessions from the U.S.
The reading about China in particular is that China was trying to show that it was encouraging the amelioration of the tensions caused by North Korea, because this would free China from the perception that it was not doing enough to sanction North Korea. It would also help China address accusations that China was allowing North Korea to acquire certain materials that North Korea should not have been in possession off.
Further, during the whole process, South Korea encouraged the talks to take place, while it seemed that China was trying to sabotage the meeting. This indicates to the rest of the world that South Korea had a bigger influence on North Korea than China, or at least that the Chinese influence on North Korea was diluted by South Koreas quick entrance.
Dr. Lai stated that he believed the U.S. made a big mistake, because in order for the summit to be successful, the result needs to be successful as well – and that is the big question. Dr. Lai assessed that after the summit, it appears that President Trump gave up almost everything, while North Korea did not commit to any significant concession regarding nuclear weapons.
On the other hand, Kim Jong-un acquired the U.S. security guarantee, he also got the U.S. to endorse the language about denuclearization in the Korean Peninsula – the language about the denuclearization of North Korea and any mention of CVID (complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization) was not there. Further, Trump unilaterally declared in his press conference that the U.S. – ROK military exercises will be stopped.
Finally, the opening up of North Korea with U.S., South Korea, China and Japan as well, leaves Taiwan obligated to engage with North Korea, and this is another important lesson to keep in mind.
(This report was prepared by Ms. Vindu Mai Chotani, Ph.D. Student, Graduate School of Public Policy, Tokyo University, Tokyo; Visiting Associate, Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi.)
Annex 1: List of Participants
- Mr. Masahiro Akiyama,
- President, Society of Security and Diplomatic Policy Studies
- Mr. Hideshi Tokuchi,
- Senior Fellow, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies
- Dr. Yasuhiro Matsuda,
- Professor, Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia, The University of Tokyo
- Mr. Tsuneo Watanabe,
- Senior Fellow, The Sasakawa Peace Foundation
- Mr. Makoto Ogata,
- Fellow, Society of Security and Diplomatic Policy Studies
- Mr. Kinzo Watanabe,
- Director, Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association
- Ms. Vindu Mai Chotani,
- Assistant, Society of Security and Diplomatic Studies
- Dr. Szu-Chien Hsu,
- President, Taiwan Foundation for Democracy
- Dr. David W. F. Huang,
- Associate Research Fellow, Institute of European and American Studies, Academia Sinica
- Dr. Alvin Yao,
- Executive Secretary of Board, The Prospect foundation
- Dr. I-Chung Lai,
- President, The Prospect Foundation
- Dr. Norah Huang,
- Director of International Studies, The Prospect Foundation
- Mr. Bao-Yuan Chang,
- Special assistant to the Chairman, The Prospect Foundation
- Dr. Yen-Chi Huang,
- Deputy Director of International Studies, The Prospect Foundation
- Ms. Annie Chen,
- Deputy Director of International Studies, The Prospect Foundation
- Ms. Ching-Mei Kuo,
- Assistant Research Fellow, The Prospect Foundation
- Mr. Chen-Wei Liang,
- Assistant Research Fellow, The Prospect Foundation
Annex 2: Conference Program
|0900 - 0920||
Dr. Tan-Sun Chen
Mr. Masahiro Akiyama
|0920 - 1040||
Dr. I-Chung Lai
Dr. Szu-Chien Hsu
Dr. Yasuhiro Matsuda
|1040 - 1050||Coffee Break|
|1050 - 1210||
Mr. Tsuneo Watanabe
Mr. Hideshi Tokuchi
|1210 - 1230||
Mr. Masahiro Akiyama
Dr. Tan-Sun Chen
|1230 - 1330||Lunch|
- February 2019: Dynamics of Indian Politics and the 2019 General Elections, written by Chiharu Takenaka, Professor of Rikkyo University
- February 2019: "Cooperative Strategy" to Realize "Competitive Strategy"--- The composite structure of Japan's "Free and Open Indo-Pacific" strategy (vision) ---, written by Matake Kamiya, Professor at The National Defense Academy of Japan
- January 2019:, A paper, "How will the US midterm elections results affect the Trump administration's foreign policy for 2019?" written by Tsuneo Watanabe, Senior Fellow, the Sasakawa Peace Foundation
- January 2019:, A paper, "The Present and Future of the International Trade Order" , written by Akihiko Tamura, Professor, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies
- December 2018: The US-China Competition and Japan, written by Ryo Sahashi, Professor at Kanagawa University
- December 2018: An Outlook for the US-China Trade War―What makes the two economically interdependent superpowers confront each other?―, written by Takashi Sekiyama, Associate professor at Toyo University
- September 2018: Proposal, "The Denuclearization of North Korea and the Restoration of Peace in the Korean Peninsula― Correct Perceptions and Eight Proposals on Japan's North Korea Diplomacy－" edited by the Society of Security and Diplomatic Policy Studies
- September 2018: "The Taiwan Policy of the Xi Jinping Administration in its Second Term: An Outlook on Cross-Strait Relations in the New Era" written by Yasuhiro Matsuda, Professor of the Tokyo University
- July 2018: "The EU States and Russia on North Korea Issues- Expansion of Influence through Diplomacy: Attempts and Limitations -" lectured by Yuichi Hosoya, Professor of Keio University
- "An Assessment of the US-North Korea Summit and an Outlook for the Future of the Korean Peninsula" lectured by Junya Nishino, Professor of Keio University
- "Korean Peninsula Issue and Japan's Future Security Policy" written by Hideshi Tokuchi, Senior Fellow of National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies
- July 2018: "US North Korea policy affected by personnel changes in the Trump administration" lectured by Tsuneo Watanabe, Senior Fellow of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation.
- "China-North Korea relationship under Xi Jinping" lectured by Shin Kawashima, Professor of the Tokyo University.
- "North Korean Denuclearization and Russia" lectured by Nobuo Shimotomai, Professor of the Hosei University.
- March 2018: "The Network Hegemony Theory for a Security Architecture in The Asia Pacific Region" lectured by Masahiro Akiyama, Chairman, the Society of Security and Diplomatic Policy Studies
- January 2018: "A Destabilized Middle East" lectured by Koichiro Tanaka, Professor, Keio University
- December 2017: "Problems in Sino-Japanese Relations, 1992-2042" lectured by Ezra F. Vogel, Professor of the Social Sciences Emeritus at Harvard University
- November 2017: "The Future of the Asia-Pacific Region" written by Yoriko Kawaguchi, Fellow, the Meiji Institute for Global Affairs, Former Minister Foreign Affairs
- October 2017: "A New Trend in India's Foreign Policy and Japan" Written by HIROSE,Takako, Professor, Senshu University
- August 2017: "The Shocks that shook the Transatlantic World and their Implication for Japan's Foreign Policy" written by HOSOYA, Yuichi, Professor, Keio University
- August 2017: "Does Economic Interdependence not Encourage Collaboration? ―Thinking Japan-China Relations from an Economic Perspective―" written by Takashi SEKIYAMA, Ph.D., Toyo University
- July 2017: Proposal article "The Trump Administration's Impact on the Cross-Strait Relations" written by Yasuhiro Matsuda, Ph.D.
- June 2017: Proposal article "The outlook for the relationship between two great powers and implications for Japanese diplomacy" written by Professor Shin Kawashima
- May 2017: (Emergency Proposal) Facing the Inconvenient Truth: Re-examining Policy for Peace and Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula (Chief author, Masao Okonogi)
- March 2017: "Economic Influences of the Trump Administration" written by Professor Motoshige Ito
- February, 2017: Proposal article "Trump's Foreign and Security Policy - Unpredictable President, Realistic Secretaries - " written by Mr. Tsuneo Watanabe is posted on the website of SSDP.
- December, 2016: Proposal article "Reconsidering North Korea Policy: How to Deal with a Nuclear Armed Divided States" written by Professor Masao Okonogi is posted on the website of SSDP.
- November 2018: "The Present State of the Japanese Economy and Policy Issues" lectured by Motoshige Itoh, Professor Emeritus at the University of Tokyo.
- November 2018: "Expanding Social Security Expenses and Fiscal Reforms" lectured by Kazumasa Oguro, Professor at Hosei University.
- September 2018: "Taiwan Identity and Cross-Strait Relations and Trump's Taiwan Policy and the Future of Taiwan-US Relations-Discussion at The Second Japan-Taiwan Strategic Dialogue (June 21, 2018, Taipei)-" written by OGATA, Makoto
- September 2018: "Japan-Taiwan Dialogue 2018 Minutes", 21st June 2018, Taipei, Taiwan.
- July 2018: Report on The Second Japan – Philippines Strategic Dialogue prepared by Ms. Vindu Mai Chotani, Ph.D. Student, Graduate School of Public Policy, Tokyo University.
- May 2018: "Civilian Control "at Crisis"? – Perhaps Not, for the Case of the Field Sit-reps from SDF's South Sudan Mission" reported by Ippeita Nishida, Research Fellow, the Sasakawa Peace Foundation
- January 2018: "Fukushima, Genki？Project－Young Taiwanese volunteers introduce the facts on Fukushima's revival through documentary films－" reported by OGATA, Makoto, Former Chief of the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association in Taipei
- December 2017: "Commemorating a Quarter Century of Dispatches of the JSDF's PKO Units: Challenges and Possibilities in the Post South Sudan" written by Takayuki Shoji, Lecturer, Nihon University
- November 2017: "19th CCP National Congress" written by Mr. Bonji Ohara, Senior Research Fellow, the Sasakawa Peace Fondation
- October 2017: "What is Japan's Role in the Indo-China border conflict?" written by Dr. NGAO,Satoru, Research Fellow, Institute for Future Engineering
- July 2017: "Overview of the Current Situation in Taiwan-" the Naturally Independent Generation" will affect the Taiwan"s politics-" written by Makoto Ogata MGE.(Ret.)
- June 2017: "Japan-U.S. Economic Dialogue" written by Mr.Takaaki Asano
- March 2017: "The Japan-Philippines Strategic Dialogue" written by Mr. Hideshi Tokuchi
- February, 2017: Current topic "The Importance of Japan's Security Role Under Trump" written by Dr. Satoru Nagao is posted on the SSDP website.
- December, 2016: Current topic "Widening Security Task: Will SDF do the Job?" written by Mr. Ippeita Nishida is posted on the SSDP website.
- February 2019: The Denuclearization of North Korea and the Takeshima Issue
- December 2018: Former Vice Defense Minister Masahiro Akiyama's Memoirs (An Ad)
- November 2018: Participation in the Future Consensus Forum held in Beijing
- September 2018: "2018 Indo-Pacific Security Dialogue" reported by Masahiro Akiyama
- 2017 December: "The Butterfly Project-A possibility of showing a solution to the North Korea problem-"
- October 2017: Campaign on the problems with North Korea
- August 2017: A New Containment Policy Strategy
- June 2017: Korean peninsla
- March 2017: President Duterte
- February, 2017: Kazakhstan
- November, 2016: Participated in Astana Club 2016 held in Kazakhstan on November 14- 16, 2016.